April 22, 2004

Squeezing The Schedule

Gamasutra offers some oft-overlooked points about managing software projects. I particularly agreed with...

  • Only plan the things you've scheduled for the next two months down to days, get the rest planned to the nearest week, you'll be replanning anyhow. You need to have the plan for the next milestone nailed down, so you know when it's going to end. Towards the end of each milestone you should revisit the plan: check that the work planned for it still makes sense; add anything that got cut from the current milestone (assuming you're date-driven) and of course work out how you're going to deal with the extra work now in the next milestone (find a new person to do it, push something else out into a further milestone, etc.). All of this can make quite a difference to what you thought would be in the milestone, so any detailed planning done early could be wasted.
  • Know your team. Then be smart about who does what. Sounds obvious, but isn't that easy to do when you can't give everything to your star performers.

Posted by Adrian at April 22, 2004 11:55 AM | TrackBack

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I imagine you could say you know your team quite well. :)

Posted by: Andrew at April 22, 2004 01:57 PM

True, but the team doesn't seem to respect my authority as much as I'd like ;-)

Posted by: Adrian at April 22, 2004 02:03 PM

In that case I'd suggest some kind of 'team building' exercise. Maybe a day out driving fast cars around a circuit or something? :)

Posted by: Andrew at April 22, 2004 04:45 PM

Unfortunately the finance department claim that the entertainments budget for this year has already been spent.

Posted by: Adrian at April 22, 2004 05:06 PM

I'd do the team building anyway! If we chip in the wine and beer budget from our own pockets, our staff will normally stump up the cost of their own dinner :-)

Oh and never never over plan! Planning is great because it helps you see the likely tasks and problems that you are going to face BUT pretending to yourself that you will stick to the minute detail is futile. Do you remember setting out your school exam revision timetable? ;-) Remember how it seemed to take longer than the revision itself? ;-)

We have been very influenced by the ideas in Extreme Programming and Rapid Application Development in which you try and prototype your project extremely quickly at the start. This gives you a much better idea of how the real project is going to go.

Posted by: Jonathan Briggs at May 4, 2004 08:50 AM

I would be up for some level of team-building regardless, but as the team consists of just me at the moment... I've been guilty of a little too much "team building" recently :-)

Posted by: Adrian at May 4, 2004 10:02 AM
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